The 9 Biggest Back Link Building Mistakes

by Wayne Sharer

International speaker, author, and entrepreneur. Retired navy officer, former commanding officer. Over 35 years of leading, coaching, mentoring, and speaking.

July 29, 2013

Google has told every website owner that will listen all about the importance of site quality.  In fact, most of their search engine improvements have to do with analyzing site quality, including your back link building.  It’s what Panda and Penguin were all about.  They even gave you a tool called the Disavow tool in your Webmaster’s Tools.  It let’s you, the website owner cut your connection to the links you don’t want.

Not All Backlinks Are Created Equal

There are links that pass “link juice” to your websites and can help your site rank better on Google, and there are other backlinks.  The “others” can delay or prevent your moving up in the search engine ranking pages.

The question is, “How do you know the good links from the bad?”

What should you do?  Read the 10 biggest back link mistakes here and get your site audited.

1. Abstaining from PR0 Pages

Self declared experts in forums and those trying to sell you on loopholes are obsessed with getting high PageRank (PR) backlinks of PR3 or higher.  This is a big mistake because a page can be PR0 or PR-N/A because the page or website was recently setup.  This does not make it bad.  In fact, it may very well be excellent if the content on the low PR page is quality content.  It is likely such a pages PageRank will increase fairly rapidly and even beat out yours.

2. Backlinks from Banned Pages

Google has banned many web pages from their index.  They do this when there is violation of their search engine quality criteria.  When this happens, the links out from the page to other pages, like yours, become subject to suspicion.  If these links from banned pages point to your website page, users of the banned page are likely not to click the links.  For this reason, Google considers the links to be bad or link spam, and will have a negative effect on your page ranking.

3. Backlinks from Banned Domains

This can happen without your knowledge, but backlinking from a banned domain is very bad.  This happens when you get a link from a site that has been practicing “black hat” SEO.  You had no way to know except to be using the Webmaster’s tools that Google provides you or have a professional audit done of your site.

If linking from a banned page wasn’t bad enough, then you could build backlinks from banned domains which is much worse! If your site is found by users from a banned site, that’s a very bad thing. It is understandable though as sometimes business owners are unaware that their previous SEOs or marketing agencies practiced black hat link building.

4. Forgetting Internal Links

The links internal to your website are the ones that guide your viewers to other pages on your site or domain.  They are generally used for navigation and are very important for spreading “link juice” throughout the site.  Consider a page such as your home page.  Let’s say there are a bunch of quality links coming into your homepage.  The links from the homepage to other pages on your site can also benefit from those same inbound links.  So adding links from your most popular posts to other similar or relevant pages or posts on your site can make the low ranking pages more relevant, too.

Your website’s internal links are essential to how well your site is “crawled” by the search engines as well.  Google can only rank the pages it’s spiders can find or reach.  So have internal links that work is vital, and ensuring your redirects function correctly is a must.

5. Backlinks from the Same IP C class

This is another  backlinking item the self declared gurus of the forums often misguide you on.  An IP or Internet Protocol address is the servers electronic address online. That address is in a string of numbers with four number groups separated by dots. The C class or C block you often here about is the third set of numbers (AAA.BBB.CCC.DDD).

The bottom line is, there isn’t anything wrong with getting multiple from websites with the same C class.  The reason is that shared hosting (the most common type) and cloud hosting your site can be hosted with the same server (thus the same IP C class) as sites sending you a back link.  So getting relevant links from other highly relevant sites on the same C class as your website may not ever hurt your rankings.

HOWEVER…don’t get all your backlinks from the same C class because this is not normal and is going to rouse suspicion. Your links “look” unnatural and therefore the only thing that would be natural is for search engines to assume the links are coming from different sites all owned by the same person.  This does not mean links from your own sites to each other are bad.  There just must be inbound links from other relevant places.

6. Completely Avoiding Pages Rich in Outbound Links

It is true that you want to stay away from pages with excessive outbound links. However, there are sites that can be an exception to the guideline.  If you are going to get a link from such a site, then examine the anchor texts for relevancy.  As long as links are relevant, and at least natural, it’s worth giving the site a shot.

An example might be a web page from a prominent online marketing website where they feature a list of the best SEO experts in a region.  The page might have dozens of outbound links.  At first, you might think this is excessive, but wouldn’t you want your link to be on that page?  Think about it.

However, it’s a red flag if that page contains a lot of outbound links and those links anchor text happen to be “money terms” that are too far off related to the page’s main content topic.  These would be very highly competitive keywords with high commercial value.  Here a few of the “money terms”: insurance, loans, mortgage, attorney – the four most expensive keywords in Google AdWords.

7. Backlinks with Over-optimized Anchor Text

Avoid getting links with over-optimized anchor texts. The anchor texts in your inbound links must contain a mix of the keywords you want to rank for as well as other generic words that would normally occur in the context content sending the links.  Some examples includes having words like “click here”, “more info”, “learn more”, etc, as anchor text or part of the anchor text.

This ensures anchor text diversity to keep your backlink profile looking natural and not overly-optimized.

A suggested “rule of thumb is  not having over 20% of anchor text using keywords.  Many are going as low as 5%.

8. Not using the Disavow Links Tool

Google has given you a free tool in your webmasters tool called the disavow tool.  It makes it easy for you to “disavow” or sever links that are linking into your site that may be harming them.  Google’s Matt Cutts says it should be used like a machete, but should be your last option.  Use when you tried to get webmasters to remove the links, but were unable to.

You should know when Google says there are spammy links pointing to your site if you are using the Webmaster’s Tools because Google will send you an alert.  It tells you there is evidence of unnatural link exchanges or other link sources violating their terms.

The best solution is to get the link removed, but this is not always possible.  So when you cannot get the link removed, use the Google Disavow Links tool.

9. NOT Getting a Website Audit Done

This could easily be the biggest link building mistake you can do, especially after Google updates.  A site audit thoroughly examines all your backlinks to ensure that your optimization efforts comply with the latest updates.  This is the very best means to determine or verify whether your site or pages have been penalized by Panda or Penguin updates. And if they were affected, an audit is the best way to start rebuilding efforts.

So these are the biggest link building mistakes. Keep these in mind when you are about to run an SEO campaign for your clients. It is better that you engage them first on these points in a consulting session to let them know that you have their best interest in mind in terms of link building for SEO.

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